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What would you do?

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MamahopeMamahope Forumite
12 posts
West Cornwall: - 1985 south-facing 3/4 bed semi-detached house with cavity wall insulation, 200-300mm in loft, older double-glazing throughout: 2cm air gap, solid concrete floors. Around 100m2 internal floor space plus north-facing conservatory (unused in winter as seems ridiculous to turn the radiator on in there).

Not entitled to any grants etc.

We have a Worcester Heatslave oil boiler 15/19, 20 years old, 83% quoted efficiency - running fine.

The 1200 plastic oil tank however will probably need replacing within a year or so - have been quoted £1900 all in and seeking a second / third opinion.

The engineers are encouraging me to replace the boiler too but I'm not rushing to do this as the spare parts are still supported.

USEAGE: - We only use around 600L (£300) of oil per year and 35 bags of logs (£140) in our modern woodburner. The house is rarely cold in the mornings, we hardly ever have heating on outside of 4-9pm. Rare for it to be below 0C this far west.

Do we:

1. carry on with our old oil boiler and replace tank as necessary?

2. connect to mains gas (£3,300 connection fee and whatever it'll be to rip out & replace oil boiler with gas condensing boiler)

3. install ASHP - RHI makes it attractive but we'd likely have to replace 6 or 7 radiators with bigger ones (unless Altherma HT?), and would the need for it to be running 24/7 in winter mean that our annual heating bill is actually more than current overall?

4. Install air-to-air multi-split system, but what would we do for hot water - electric immersion? Solar thermal?

5. Modern storage heaters - any good these days?

6. Solar PV somehow linked to space-heating?

Our decision isn't critical right now, just thinking ahead really... Any thoughts most welcome, thank you :)
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Replies

  • mumfmumf Forumite
    262 posts
    Tenth Anniversary 100 Posts Combo Breaker Mortgage-free Glee!
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    The way I see it,electricity will be the way forward,as just about every fuel source will be banned by 2050!
  • MamahopeMamahope Forumite
    12 posts
    Thanks, I just wish the air-to-water systems were 100% proven to work with some sort of guarantee if they don't perform as expected... Have lined up a survey & estimate which will hopefully include projected running costs, but choosing a competent installer seems to be a gamble, upon reading the threads here, and costly to repair if something goes wrong?
  • Rodders53Rodders53 Forumite
    897 posts
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    Pretty much any replacement won't stack up against running the system until it absolutely needs replacing.

    ASHP and larger radiators could work OK if designed right, a suitably sized HW tank can be heated to 40-45C via it without major drama and you can get automated systems to Legionella sterilise the water to 60C, weekly.

    Read up the long thread on ASHP (and Ground Source as bits apply to your situation from both).

    Solar thermal and electric can be costed and you can do the sums wrt payback periods etc.,.

    ASHPs cost only slightly less than oil per kWh of energy depending on efficiency (worse when cold or trying to raise water temperature higher) so installation payback on energy cost savings will be.... pretty much never.

    BUT soon no new homes will be allowed to install mains gas boilers (probably all fossil fuel technologies?) and will use electric heat pump technology. So installer knowledge will rise and cost should fall.

    Doing your research, reading and calculations now will mean you are better prepared for the day your oil system needs replacing?
  • edited 23 June 2019 at 5:35PM
    MamahopeMamahope Forumite
    12 posts
    edited 23 June 2019 at 5:35PM
    Thanks, confirming lots of my thoughts... I'm working my way through all the threads and yes, it pays to be prepared for when the old Heatslave is uneconomical to repair... though if that's sooner rather than later would I have wasted almost £2K on the replacement oil tank? On the other hand, an oil boiler is only as old as it's replacement parts and perhaps they don't go catastrophically wrong from that era? 83% doesn't strike me as the worst efficiency either...
  • CardewCardew Forumite
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    Part of the Furniture 10,000 Posts Name Dropper Rampant Recycler
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    Mamahope wrote: »
    Thanks, I just wish the air-to-water systems were 100% proven to work with some sort of guarantee if they don't perform as expected... Have lined up a survey & estimate which will hopefully include projected running costs, but choosing a competent installer seems to be a gamble, upon reading the threads here, and costly to repair if something goes wrong?


    Well said!


    It still seems incredible to me that heat pump customers are expected to spend many £thousands; and receive large RHI subsidies, with absolutely no guarantee of performance; as you say - a gamble.


    Manufacturers produce massive amounts of data for their heat pumps e.g. a COP of XX with outside temp of YY and inside temp of ZZ. However data that has little relevance to their heat pump's system performance when installed.



    Indeed it is impossible for a customer to objectively know how their system is performing.


    I would feel a lot more comfortable if the major manufacturers installed sytems themselves and gave some guarantee of performance.
  • MamahopeMamahope Forumite
    12 posts
    Yes indeed! Thank you. I wonder if biomass is more reliable...
  • lovesgshplovesgshp Forumite
    1.4K posts
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    Consider a couple of air/air heaters for the heating and maybe something like a Ariston Nuos for your domestic hot water, as it can be supplied with various tank sizes.
    As Manuel says in Fawlty Towers: " I Know Nothing"
  • MamahopeMamahope Forumite
    12 posts
    Thanks - got an air/air company coming out for a look today (though husband isn't keen on the noise they make) and an oftec engineer also looked at the oil tank today for 2nd opinion.

    He reckoned connecting to the gas network (£5-6K all in with new Worcester gas combi) was preferable to ASHP air/water, due to the cost of the replacement radiators. He wasn't up to date on the RHI figures though and said it was being phased out...
  • lovesgshplovesgshp Forumite
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    If it is a air/air company, ask if they have a unit you and your husband can listen when it is operating. It would normally be about the same as a fan or fan heater inside the house.
    As Manuel says in Fawlty Towers: " I Know Nothing"
  • Rodders53Rodders53 Forumite
    897 posts
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    We have Fujitsu LU series split pack air to air heat pumps to supplement our oil fired underfloor heating. But primarily to keep swmbo cool in bedroom and lounge with no issues of pollen.

    The bedroom one runs all night at the moment. The indoor units can hardly be heard on the low fan setting. Faster speeds are only needed for rapid heating/cooling; and only for a fairly short time if the units are sized correctly.

    The 'fan heater' analogy is plain wrong. Our indoor unit fan speeds vary automatically and even start and stop as required to maintain set temperature.

    The outside units are, of course, noisier; but again only on the initial 'hard working' stages.

    The same outside unit noise will occur with air to water units (probably more depending on ratings).

    Cheap aircon units will be noisier than the better quality brands, probably. Indoor unit noise can vary slightly too, even from same makers (basic vs premium?). Some are also prettier than others.
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